Bone-chilling weather grips Metro Detroit Saturday

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Saturday promised to be one of the area’s coldest winter days in a while and it kept its promise.

By 2 p.m., temps reached a balmy 13 degrees, according to the National Weather Service office in White Lake Township.

The weather service is predicting there could be some snow showers later in the day and the thermometer’s mercury could drop as low as one degree at night.

Metro Detroiters braced for the chill on Saturday.

Frank Earl didn’t put too fine a point on his assessment of the weather: “It’s cold.”

Earl darted out of his Orchestra Tower apartment on Woodward Avenue in Midtown Saturday afternoon to grab a quick sandwich, some chili and a cup of hot cocoa from the Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club truck.

“This is it right here,” he said. “I’m going to stay in today.”

Earl’s neighbor, Donald Nelson, did the same.

“It’s too cold for me,” he said. “I just came out to get some food. Other than that I’m going to stay in.”

He said the chili and cocoa will help keep his spirits warm.

“It helps,” he said. “It’s a great TV snack.”

The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club trucks were driving their usual routes Saturday, offering the needy food and a hot beverage.

A group of young men from St. Paul United Church of Christ, led by one of their Sunday school teachers, was serving on the truck where Earl and Nelson picked up their snacks.

It was warm in the truck, but they were prepared for frigid temperatures.

“I’ve got on five layers,” said Tyler Staten, 11, of Romulus.

Every day, volunteers like Staten and the Bed & Bread program’s staff travel more than 130 miles serving food to Detroit’s needy. Their routes cover the city from its east side all the way to River Rouge. Each week, they dispense a total of 10,000 pieces of fruit, 360 gallons of soup, 1,800 loaves of bread, 2,500 pounds of cold cuts. In the winter, they can serve as much as 300 gallons of hot chocolate a week.

“We try to have blankets, hats and gloves on the truck to give out every day in the winter,” said Mittie Hatcher, team leader for the nonprofit’s Bed & Bread Club.

Hatcher said each truck’s drivers and volunteers are told to bundle up. They usually stay in the truck and keep the walk-up window closed when they’re not handing out food, she said.

The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club Radiothon, a major fundraiser for the program is set for Feb. 26 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

The program also provides shelter to more than 500 people each night.

Hatcher said the Bed & Bread Club always needs volunteers and donations for its effort.

To volunteer for the Bed & Bread Club, log on to salmich.org.

To donate, call (248) 528-0760 or text BREAD to 91999.

Elsewhere, the city of Ferndale opened up its Kulick Community Center as a temporary warming center for the weekend.

Located at 1201 Livernois, the center will be open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m Sunday.

“Subfreezing temperatures can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions,” Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan said in a statement “It is important for everyone to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe during these chilly weekends.”

Metro Detroit Forecast

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 19. Calm wind becoming south southeast 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.

Monday: A chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a high near 35. South southeast wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 37.

Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 32.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 32.

Friday: A chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 46.